Two Travel Things that Made Our Trip Much Better: Less-Drowsy Dramamine; Trekking Poles

More travel stuff, this time two things that made our trip better.

ONE: the new less-drowsy Dramamine.

(image from

(image from

It’s not all THAT new, but this was the first time I’d tried it. Old Dramamine was dimenhydrinate, and that knocks me RIGHT OUT. Which is a conflicting thing, because if I’m sleeping, I don’t really need medicine to let me read in a car/plane/train. The newer Dramamine is meclizine HCI. I was suspicious of it, but tried it. I was able to read on the plane, and although I was drowsy a few times, that might be because we had to get up at 1:45 in the morning to get to our first flight. And I didn’t have that knocked-out/drugged feeling. This was only one test (well, two since I used it both directions of travel), but I was very pleased with the results. There is also a non-drowsy Dramamine, but the active ingredient is just ginger, and I’mma let someone else try that first, and even if you say it’s great I probably will not risk it. I still resent ginger for not helping with morning sickness.


TWO: walking sticks. Er, “trekking poles.”

(image from

(image from

My brother and sister-in-law brought these to our attention when they both used them on a hike. Then they bought a pair for my mom, and she loved them. The last time I visited my parents, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the physical adventures, so I wanted to try the trekking poles too, and my parents bought me a pair for my birthday. This trip was their first airing, and I think I probably said “I LOVE THESE WALKING STICKS”/”This is SO much easier/better with the walking sticks!” about a dozen times per day.

Here are my issues the sticks help so much with: easily-hurt knees, weak ankles, and in general not very good balance. Suddenly I was STABLE, and didn’t feel as if my ankles might suddenly give out with a particularly vigorous step-down, and I had help with steep inclines. Also, my mom has none of my same issues, but loves the way the sticks let her arms share a vigorous hike with her legs; I liked that aspect too.

The trekking poles adjust for different heights; they look a little weird in the photo I used here, because they’re in their collapsed state and there is a big bouquet of tags on each one. They’re easy to adjust—though I say that after having my mom do it for me the first time, and then using a Sharpie marker to mark where she put them, and then having my dad use some sort of tool to tighten them into place, so never mind, they are not really EASY to adjust, but they are adjustable, and not hard once you get the idea of how they work. Also, my mom showed me how to use the little loops, which is a counter-intuitive process: you put your hands UP through the loops (so that your hands are floating above the walking sticks), and then, with them all up in your wrist/palm area, grab the handles of the poles. You will have to use FAITH the first time you do this, because it seems WRONG. …Don’t get discouraged by this paragraph.

I highly recommend these poles/sticks for anyone who does a lot of outdoorsy stuff, and for anyone who does NOT usually do a lot of outdoorsy stuff but is about to be in a situation where they will participate in some. I’d say they took me from “not really enjoying the scenery because I was concentrating on not hurting myself / not falling off a mountain / not dying from unaccustomed exertion” to “partially enjoying the scenery and partially rejoicing in how great my walking sticks were.”

7 thoughts on “Two Travel Things that Made Our Trip Much Better: Less-Drowsy Dramamine; Trekking Poles

  1. Suzanne

    The trekking poles sound great!

    And now I am taking a moment to give ginger the side-eye as well. NOT HELPFUL, GINGER. (I am recalling many, many horrible evenings of collapsing onto the couch, desperately pressing a piece of fresh ginger to my nose while my husband produced some horrifying scent from the kitchen – likely he was doing something abominable like toasting bread – and desperately downing ginger chews with NO RELIEF.) In any case of Certain Nausea, I wouldn’t trust it either.

  2. Tommie

    Ha! The ginger comment reminded me of my relentless morning sickness too.

    So glad the trekking poles worked so well. I’m fascinated by them and kind of want to try them except, well, that would involve actually trekking.

  3. Becky

    I like the trekking poles! You hold poles for cross country skiing the same way and it does really feel counterintuitive at first, but then it makes sense. It takes the pressure off your fingers to grip the pole tightly enough. Glad you enjoyed hiking for a change!

  4. Kara

    Trekking poles! I think I’ve just found the Christmas present that I’ll be giving my parents this year.

  5. Debbie in KS

    Meclizine is magical stuff! It has been a revelation for me — taking it on twisty road car trips and while flying has led to me thinking things like, “Oh, so, this is what ‘normal’ people feel like during these things!” I’m also able to read maps, turn around and talk to people in the back seat, and sometimes read something. Amazing! It’s been sold as Bonine for a long time, though the over the counter versions you can buy at Target (white bottle, orange label/writing) are just as effective and much cheaper. I first discovered it through a friend who did a lot of scuba diving — it’s apparently what she and her friends always used. My mom now uses it to combat her vertigo, and it often makes the difference between functioning and not for her. And it’s a once a day pill! Another good part: if one forgets to take it before getting on the plane, one can dissolve it under one’s tongue and it takes effect very quickly (less than 5 min for me). Highly recommend.

  6. Alexicographer

    Cool. I have had good luck with candied ginger for car (not morning) sickness, but have a few times needed and/or relied on Dramamine and OMG does that stuff knock me out. So having access to something that works but is less drowsy-making seems like a good thing.

  7. Susan

    I’ve been thinking about getting some of those poles as well…I had just ONE on a trip into the Grand Canyon and it was a Godsend, especially as one of my knees quickly developed a pain about a mile into the trip. (If only I’d had TWO!!!)

    Now, I’ve been diagnosed with ostearthritis of my hip (I swear I am really NOT that old), and I’m thinking that my walks on the beach might be greatly enhanced by something that is not seen as a CANE, or CRUTCHES, but a HIKING aid! Yes! (Not only am I not that old, but I’m apparently vain about it.)

    Some day I will have surgery but I am DEFINITELY too young for hip replacement.

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